‘Schools That Teach’ Tour Stop in Pottsville Highlights Governor Wolf’s School Funding Plan

February 12, 2015

Pottsville, PA – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today continued his “Schools That Teach Tour” with a stop at DHH Lengel Middle School in Schuylkill County, where he discussed his education reinvestment plan. The Governor’s proposal is part of his solution to properly fund Pennsylvania’s schools, which have suffered from $1 billion in funding cuts in recent years. These cuts have forced school districts to increase class sizes, lay-off teachers and other staff, and make serious program cuts that make it more difficult for students to get a strong education in Pennsylvania’s public schools.

“If we are going to be competitive in the 21st century economy, we must provide our young people with the educational foundation necessary to be successful,” Governor Wolf said. “The commonwealth ranks 45th in the nation in percentage of state funding for public education, and these cuts have made it more difficult for students to get a strong education in Pennsylvania’s public schools. We can get Pennsylvania back on track, and we can start by passing a commonsense, middle-of-the-road severance tax that will help fund our schools.”

The proposal, called the Pennsylvania Education Reinvestment Act, enacts a reasonable 5% severance tax plus 4.7 cents per thousand feet of volume on extraction, which is expected to generate over a billion dollars in fiscal year 2017 prior to exemptions. It is modeled on neighboring West Virginia’s severance tax plan.

Pennsylvania sits on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world. Other natural gas producing states, including Texas and Oklahoma, levy a similar – and in some cases higher – tax on extraction to fund key priorities and initiatives.

While the majority of the funds generated would go towards schools, the proposal would contain similar payments as those currently being made to impacted communities. It makes reasonable exemptions for: gas given away for free; gas from low producing wells; and wells brought back into production after not having produced marketable quantities of gas. It will also contain provisions to protect property owners who lease land for natural gas exploration.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan, 717-783-1116

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